Supply Bill

18 June, 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (17:55): Today I rise to make my contribution in support of the Supply Bill 2019. The government is asking for approximately $5.5 billion of taxpayer money to enable the continued payment of public servants and public services. It is very important that provisions are made for the ongoing delivery of essential public services in South Australia.

Since taking office in March 2018, the Marshall state government has taken a proactive approach towards transforming the economy of South Australia with a strong vision to deliver more business confidence, create a more competitive climate for industries and to increase our population. The state government has been working hard to deliver more jobs, lower costs and better services for South Australia. I am proud to be a part of the Marshall team who are honouring the many commitments that deliver better outcomes for all South Australians. Helping households and businesses reduce the cost-of-living pressures has always been a top priority for the Marshall government.

I am pleased to report that our government is delivering on its commitment to slash emergency services levy bills for South Australians. We are doing this by putting $90 million a year back into the pockets of families, with an average household set to save more than 50 per cent or $163 compared with the policy under the former Labor government. I congratulate and thank our very diligent Treasurer, my esteemed colleague the Hon. Rob Lucas, for delivering the promise to slash ESL bills for South Australian households and families, and that is exactly what we are delivering.

One of the most positive pieces of feedback I have heard over and over again when I am out and about visiting multicultural and not-for-profit community groups is how happy they are about the Marshall government abolishing fees for all volunteer checks. Making volunteer screening checks free for all South Australians late last year has saved the community sector more than $1.3 million. That is more than $1.3 million worth of savings that have been injected back into the sector to help organisations deliver vital services for the community. What a wonderful job the Minister for Human Services, the Hon. Michelle Lensink, is doing for our community.

Since 1 November 2018, a total of 23,379 South Australians have applied for more than 30,000 free volunteer screening checks, which are conducted by the Department of Human Services Screening Unit, saving the sector hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the previous Labor government, volunteer screening checks were $59.40 each.

Working directly with multicultural and community organisations in South Australia, I am proud to be part of the Liberal government that highly values the incredible dedication and hard work of volunteers and their selfless contributions to serve our community. It is very encouraging that more and more South Australians are taking up volunteering since we made volunteer screening checks free in November. The figures speak for themselves: it is now easier for people in South Australia to volunteer, as the cost of screening does not act as a barrier.

South Australia's economy is transforming into a more efficient and competitive economy than ever before, under the strong leadership of the Marshall government. I want to congratulate the Premier, the Treasurer, ministers and their departments on delivering outcomes for our state. Growing the economy and jobs remains the government's top priority.

It is encouraging to see investors returning to South Australia with enormous confidence. The latest ABS figures show a 37 per cent rise in private new capital expenditure in the past year under the reformist Marshall Liberal government. The 37 per cent jump in real private new capital expenditure in the March 2019 quarter, compared with the March 2018 quarter, is largely off the back of buildings and structures, defying a national fall of 1.9 per cent.

The results follow another positive ANZ Stateometer report which showed that South Australia was the only state to record an above-trend growth rate in the quarter and rising momentum from the last quarter of last year. In fact, the report showed that South Australia was one of only three states to record a rise in capital expenditure in the March quarter, showing that we are punching well above our weight and that investors once again feel confident in coming and spending their money here. The impressive 37 per cent rise in private new capital expenditure in South Australia will no doubt have significant flow-on benefits.

The confidence in South Australia's economy and community has been at an all-time high where large investments are flowing through our state. The South Australian community is excited about the announcement that Adelaide is now the home of Australia's new Space Agency. South Australia beat strong competition from other states to secure the headquarters. We were incredibly lucky to have our homegrown NASA astronaut Dr Andy Thomas help with our campaign. The Space Agency will be based at Lot Fourteen, which is being transformed into an innovation precinct and a key hub for the space and technology industry.

The miracle man, as he has been referred to after the stunning election victory on 18 May, our Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison, said that South Australia was an ideal home for the new Space Agency. This will open doors for local businesses and Australian access to $US345 billion of global space industry. The Premier, the Hon. Steven Marshall, is a champion for the Space Agency. He said that it would help enhance the city's livability and will take the state's defence sectors to the next level.

I would like to turn my attention now to the good work of the Hon. David Ridgway, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. For the first time since 2011, South Australia's international student enrolments have exceeded the national growth rate, with the state attracting nearly 30,400 enrolments in the first three months of 2019. International students are valued members of our community and contribute enormously to our economy and add to multicultural vibrancy, which we supported and successfully developed to enrich our state.

In the 2017-18 financial year, international students generated $1.62 billion for the South Australian economy, positioning international education as one of the state's top export earners. Through the good work of the Hon. David Ridgway, the minister has committed to further growing the international education sector by investing more than ever before into StudyAdelaide to promote the international student market and Adelaide being an education destination.

I would like to also turn attention now to caring about our community. Caring for and providing services to vulnerable communities remains a priority for our Liberal government. People of South Australia are grateful that the Liberal government has taken another important step towards ending domestic, family and sexual violence in South Australia. They welcome the new policy announced by the Hon. Michelle Lensink, the Minister for Human Services.

The new framework, entitled 'Committed to safety: a framework for assessing domestic, family and sexual violence', includes a strong focus of providing targeted support to specific population groups, such as young people, Aboriginal women and communities, women with disabilities, culturally and linguistically diverse women, older women and people living in regional and remote communities. The Liberal government continues to deliver its commitment to address domestic violence across the state, including investing more than $11.9 million on a suite of measures to support women and children at risk in South Australia.

More investment in education, health, road infrastructure and upgrades has already been mentioned by my esteemed colleague the Hon. Terry Stephens in his contribution. We are definitely a government that will continue to work hard for a better South Australia. With those remarks, I support the passage of the Supply Bill.